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The Empress of Ireland in 2014: An Unforgettable Commemoration
May. 21, 2013
May 29, 2014, will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland not far from Sainte-Luce-sur-Mer. In honour of this event, the Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père (SHMP) will host a series of commemorative activities all summer long.
 
Canadian Heritage has provided $270,000 to support a number of these activities, including the creation of a travelling exhibit that will visit 12 Canadian cities during the summer of 2013.
 
The SHMP has scheduled a full week of activities for May 2014, beginning with a banquet on May 28, exactly 100 years after the ship left Quebec City. Some 500 guests will be invited to virtually board the Empress of Ireland for its final voyage. About 100 descendants from Canada, the United States and even Europe are expected to take part in the commemorative events. A list of planned events is available online at www.empress2014.ca. Special activities will continue to take place all summer long. Visitors will have opportunities to meet Joe Saward, great-grandson of the Captain of the Empress of Ireland, and Alf Hestenes, great-grandson of the Captain of the Storstad. Locals whose parents or grandparents experienced the tragedy first hand and told their stories to their children and grandchildren will also be on site.
 
Francis Lamontagne, a well-known local businessman, has agreed to be the honorary patron of the commemorative events.  Mr. Lamontagne is, among other things, vice-president of Quebec’s automobile dealers association. He will be an excellent ambassador for the city of Rimouski, which will come alive with memories of the Empress of Ireland in 2014!
 
These events will be made possible thanks to the generous participation of two major regional businesses, TC Media, L’Avantage and CBC.